One of the most exciting and frightening outcomes of technological advancement is the potential to merge our minds with machines. If achieved, this would profoundly boost our cognitive capabilities. More importantly, however, it could be a revolution in human identity, emotion, spirituality, and self-awareness.

Brain-machine interface technology is already being developed by pioneers and researchers around the globe. It’s still early and today’s tech is fairly rudimentary, but it’s a fast-moving field, and some believe it will advance faster than generally expected. Futurist Ray Kurzweil has predicted that by the 2030s we will be able to connect our brains to the internet via nanobots that will “provide full-immersion virtual reality from within the nervous system, provide direct brain-to-brain communication over the internet, and otherwise greatly expand human intelligence.” Even if the advances are less dramatic, however, they’ll have significant implications.

How might this technology affect human consciousness? What about its implications on our sentience, self-awareness, or subjective experience of our illusion of self?

Consciousness can be hard to define, but a holistic definition often encompasses many of our most fundamental capacities, such as wakefulness, self-awareness, meta-cognition, and sense of agency. Beyond that, consciousness represents a spectrum of awareness, as seen across various species of animals. Even humans experience different levels of existential awareness.

From psychedelics to meditation, there are many tools we already use to alter and heighten our conscious experience, both temporarily and permanently. These tools have been said to contribute to a richer life, with the potential to bring experiences of beauty, love, inner peace, and transcendence. Relatively non-invasive, these tools show us what a seemingly minor imbalance of neurochemistry and conscious internal effort can do to the subjective experience of being human.

Taking this into account, what implications might emerging brain-machine interface technologies have on the “self”?

The Tools for Self-Transcendence

At the basic level, we are currently seeing the rise of “consciousness hackers” using techniques like non-invasive brain stimulation through EEG, nutrition, virtual reality, and ecstatic experiences to create environments for heightened consciousness and self-awareness. In Stealing Fire, Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal explore this trillion-dollar altered-states economy and how innovators and thought leaders are “harnessing rare and controversial states of consciousness to solve critical challenges and outperform the competition.” Beyond enhanced productivity, these altered states expose our inner potential and give us a glimpse of a greater state of being. AI & Machines – Learn More

The Nano Millenium heterojunction transistors

  

Preface
S. Luryi
Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794-2350, U.S.A
J. M. Xu
Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, U.S.A.
A. Zaslavsky

Division of Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, U.S.A.
This book is a brainchild of the third workshop (FTM-3) in the Future Trends in Microelectronics series. The first of the FTM conferences, “Reflections on the Road to Nanotechnology” had gathered in 1995 on Ile de Bendor, a beautiful little mediterranean French island. The second FTM, “Off the Beaten Path” took place in 1998 on a larger island in the same area, Ile des Embiez. Instead of going to a still larger island, FTM-3 “The Nano Millenium” went back to its origins on Ile de
Bendor in 2001. To compensate, the next FTM is planned on the biggest island of them all, Corsica. Normally the FTM workshops gather every three years; however, the FTM-4 will take place one year ahead of the usual schedule, in the summar of 2003, as one time exception.
TheFTM workshopsarerelativelysmall gatherings(lessthan100 people)by
invitation only. If you, the reader, wish to be invited, please consider following a few simple steps outlined on the conference website. The website at www.ece.sunysb.edu/~serge/FTM.html contains links to all past and planned workshops in the series, their programs, publications, sponsors, and, of course, attendees. Our attendees have been an illustrious lot. Suffice is to say that among FTM participants we find four Nobel laureates (Zhores Alferov, Herbert Kroemer,
Horst Stormer, and Klaus Von Klitzing, of which the former three have received their Nobels after attending FTM)and countless others poised for a similar distinction. To be sure, high distinction is not a pre-requisite for being invited to FTM but the ability and desire to bring fresh ideas is. All participants of FTM-3 can be considered authors of this book, which in a sense is a collective treatise.
The main purpose of FTM workshops is to provide forum for a free-spirited exchange of views among the leading professionals in Industry, Academia, and Government. It is a common view among the leading professionals in microelectronics is that its current explosive development will likely lead to profound paradigm shifts in the near future.

Identifying the plausible scenarios for the future evolution of microelectronics presents a tremendous opportunity for
constructive action today.For better or worse our civilization is destined to be based on electronics.
(PDF) Future Trends in Microelectronics : The Nano Millennium. Available

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